"Back to Eden": The Benefits of Wood Chips in Your Garden

David Tener, DC

Our modern food raising methods are far from life sustaining. Large scale farming practices strip soil of nutrients, saturate crops and soil with toxic pesticides and disturb soil microbes that are critical to transferring nutrients from the soil into the plant. The documentary, Back to Eden, reveals a simple organic gardening method that can not only transform your personal garden, but may even be part of the solution towards improving conventional farming methods for greater yields and healthier crops in a more sustainable fashion. 

Back to Eden: Official Film 

Back to Eden reveals ways that we can begin to work with nature rather than against it. If we support and nurture the soil in ways that mimic natural processes, in turn it will provide us with quality crops rich in nutrients. As discussed in the film, when left alone the ground becomes covered with leaves and organic materials that then turn into lush compost that adds nutrients back to the soil. This top layer of organic material also shields the soil and helps to retain moisture. Using woodchips as ground cover in your garden imitates this nature process and in turn eliminates the need for fertilizer, mineral supplements and tilling which disturbs the soil. As an added benefit, woodchips reduce the need for regular weeding and also helps to keep the soil moist without having to water regularly. 

This video inspired us and after watching it we began spreading wood chips over our garden space at the Retreat at Brooks (see pictures below). The wood chips will gradually decompose over time and contribute to a lush layer of healthy top soil for future plantings. Wood chips can be obtained easily by calling your local tree cutting service. The great thing about wood chips is that they are waste and most companies will give you all you want.